Thursday, April 25, 2013

We Just Don't Get It

I'm often accused of having "no sympathy" for people who find themselves in difficult financial positions.  Critics will say that "you don't understand that things happen that people can't control".  And while that may be true, we continue to get reports and studies like the one this week on the complete and total lack of planning for long-term care--and I am completely justified in my feelings once again.

The Associated Press finds that 70-percent of respondents to their poll have done ABSOLUTELY NO PLANNING FOR THEIR LONG-TERM CARE AS THEY AGE!!  None.  No savings, no long-term care insurance, not even writing out advanced care directives--70% of us truly believe that we are never going to get old and need help to live some semblence of a life.

Adding to the frustration are what people do have as a "plan" for old age.  The first option is "my family will just take care of me".  That would be the children who will already be burdened by the excessive costs of the Obamacare system--and other massive debt accumulated by the Government by that time.  Yet they are just going to "magically" find more money to take care of Mom and Dad.

And then there is the second option: "I'll just let the government take care of me."  According to the study, many people think Medicare pays for nursing home and hospice care.  Actually, it does not.  State-run Medicaid programs pay for that--and the only way to be eligible for those programs is to be flat-out broke.  I guess that when you consider most Americans haven't saved nearly enough for retirement to begin with, reaching that point shouldn't be too difficult.

Let me point out a couple of things to everyone in my age group (30's and 40's): the average cost of a nursing home is $6700 a month--or $80,400 a year.  And the average American will spend at least three years in assisted living.  So you can expect to need at least $241,200 saved up for that.  And keep in mind that those are today's prices.  As the Affordable Care Act drives up those costs even more in the next few decades--you can expect those nursing home expenses to increase as well--so maybe you should plan for at least $300,000.  I would suggest getting to work on that right away.

Unless of course you are going to be like the rest of the ostriches out there and just bury your head in the sand and pretend like you aren't ever going to get old or sick.  Just don't expect me to pay for it--or to feel sorry for you.

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